Business Analyst Skills List and Examples

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Professional business analysts play a critical role in a company's productivity, efficiency, and profitability. Essential skill sets range from communication and interpersonal skills to problem-solving and critical thinking. Business analysts can hone their skills through executive education programs and eventually earn a Certified Business Analysis Profession (CBAP) certification by the International Institute of Business Analysis.

How to Use Skills Lists

You can use the skills lists below throughout your job search process and when writing your resume. Don’t assume hiring supervisors know that you have what they want. 

When you find a job that appeals to you, read the job description thoroughly and research the company. That way, you will know what to highlight in your cover letter, based on what the business values. Read on to find out how to assemble your application materials and to prepare for your interview.

The interviewer will want you to elaborate on the skills that you bring to the table. So, choose three or four that relate to the position itself, and be ready to share a few stories which showcase your qualifications. It may also help to review the skills listed by job and types of skills.

Business Analyst Core Skills

Communication Skills
Business analysts spend a significant amount of time interacting with clients, users, management, and developers. Therefore, being an effective communicator is key. You will be expected to facilitate work meetings, ask the right questions, and actively listen to your colleagues to take in new information and build relationships.

A project's success may revolve around your ability to communicate things like project requirements, changes, and testing results. In your interview, focus on your ability to communicate proficiently in person, on conference calls, in meetings both digitally and otherwise, and through email. Consider having an example ready that demonstrates how being an effective communicator has served former employers well.

Problem-Solving Skills
Every project you work on is, at its core, developing a solution to a problem. Business analysts work to build a shared understanding of problems, outline the parameters of the project, and determine potential solutions.

Negotiation Skills
A business analyst is the intermediary between a variety of people with various types of personalities: clients, developers, users, management, and IT.

You have to be able to achieve a profitable outcome for your company while finding a solution for the client that makes them happy. This balancing act demands the ability to influence a mutual solution and maintaining professional relationships.

Critical Thinking Skills
Business analysts must assess multiple choices before leading the team toward a solution. Effectively doing so requires a critical review of data, documentation, user input surveys, and workflow. They ask probing questions until every issue is evaluated in its entirety to determine the best conflict resolution.

General Business Analyst Skills

Besides the core skills, employers will also be looking for more general skills and attributes.

Personal Attributes
Sought-after personal attributes include adaptability and the ability to work in a fast-paced environment with cross-functional teams. You should also hone analytical thinking, attention to detail, and creativity. Business analysts are also equipped with strong organizational skills, the ability to multitask and be an assertive, diplomatic leader. How many of these valued attributes have you cultivated? Where are there gaps?

Interpersonal/Communication Skills
You will need strong interpersonal and communication skills to help your team work together and to provide good service. Such skills include facilitating meetings, giving presentations, resolving conflict, and the ability to both negotiate and influence others. Below are additional valued skills in this arena:

Computer Skills
As a business analyst, you’ll need to be able to use many types of software, from the popular Microsoft Office Suite, to less common packages, like SharePoint, Visio, and Software Design Tools. You will need to stay abreast of new developments in relevant IT as well.

  • Microsoft Office programs (Access, Excel, Project, PowerPoint, etc.)
  • SharePoint
  • Software Design Tools
  • SQL Queries
  • Visio

Analytical Skills
Of course, a business analyst needs analytical tools, for the efficient designing and implementing of processes to forecasting and gap analysis. The other skills necessary to be a successful business analysis are as follows:

  • Data review
  • Designing and implementing tests of processes
  • Documentation
  • Eliciting and specifying project requirements
  • Financial planning
  • Forecasting
  • Gap analysis
  • Problem-solving
  • Process mapping/modeling
  • Project management
  • Quantitative/qualitative research
  • Reporting
  • Risk assessment
  • Statistical analysis
  • Technical integration
  • Validating functionality
  • Visualizations